Sunday, September 12, 2010

PS3 gaming console firmware updates

PS3 runs XrossMediaBar OS, this is an extremely limited locked down Linux OS. PS3 is not just a Game player, it has been extended to work like a PC (prior to Version 3.21) and is geared for extreme multimedia usage. You can have all your picture, music and movie files stored on the internal disk and easily accessible when needed. Internet can be browsed and a keyboard can be connected to the device for easy interface.

Every new firmware update brings in new features and improves the performance of the device (though it does annoyingly remove some old features also). Latest firmware also gets rid of most bugs, support and dependency issues for the latest games. This note is to recommend and encourage readers having PS3 to update their consoles with latest version (read docs in case you are concerned about an existing feature getting disabled).

Saturday, April 10, 12:28 AM
PS3 comes with Wireless card and can easily be configured to connect with the home broadband router. My base version 2.5 could not recognize my home network and the Wireless settings were also not configurable.

Updated firmware version from 2.5. to 2.6. I did this by using a game CD that required minimum 2.6 (Bionic Commando to be precise). This can also be done by downloading the firmware and placing it in a memory stick (refer for details).

This allowed me to use wireless LAN that was not visible earlier. I am not sure if earlier versions allowed wireless access, but for me the option was displayed only after installing firmware 2.6.

 Once wireless LAN was established, updating the system using the Internet installed the latest firmware version 3.21. This download is huge and ran overnight. This particular firmware removes the ability to install other OS on the PS3 system. Yes quite a few people had one more Linux flavour installed and used PS3 as PC.

Sun 12 Sep 2010 01:49:31 AM GST
Version 3.42 released on 07-Sep-10. Updated the firmware to the latest release. This is just a simple auto-install process and can also be triggered from menu Settings -> System Update.

Available Applications
Following features are available and in use on my PS3.
  • Gaming
  • Photo Gallery
  • Video Gallery
  • Music Gallery
  • Media Server access (can access my WD media disk using wireless router).
  • Video Editor and Uploader
  • Playstation Store online
  • Internet Browser and Search
  • "Life with Playstation" (provided dynamic web-based contents pertaining to time and location).
  • Gaming community message and chat access.
  • Facebook connect (this came through recently).

Happy gaming.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Android 2.2 (Froyo) update with HTC Sense

Last week I received a request on my device (HTC Desire) to update the Android version from 2.1 to 2.2 (Froyo). This was surprising as I am currently situated in UAE region and my device belongs to south-east Asia region. It is even more surprising as this device is not supported by HTC in this region*.

All my early pursuit to manually update the device had failed as HTC did not allow the update download when I entered the device serial no on their site. Anyway auto-update request was welcoming on my HTC Desire model. Below is the list of differences I noticed after the update was applied.

Note, some of these may be a feature of HTC sense interface rather than the base android OS itself. Also note that I am highlighting features that I have found to be new on my device and are not picked up from any existing sources.

  • Keyboard now has a setup option that provides user dictionary to allow addition and deletion of personal words.  The control is available with user. All my before update fed custom words were lost. I need to rebuild now.
  • Recent apps window now show 8 entries of last used apps.
  • Video resolution 720p now available (1280x720)! This is wonderful and probably the most important feature. I did a sample video and verified the quality with old shots, excellent.
  • Torch light app available in menu. This gives you the ability to use your phone as a torch in darkness. The camera LED is used for this purpose.
  • New places app available in menu to quickly find places nearby to your current location.
  • For those using SEVEN app for receiving emails, the notification bar now actually shows the number of unread emails. This is possibly a feature of the app that has got activated after applying the patch. This does not apply to  the default clients for Google and HTC.
  • The HTC Friend stream widget now shows the "like this" and "comments" counter for each message received.
  • New app Voice Search available. Spoken words invoke the search engine and shows the results on screen. Keyboard has  a microphone button, short press invokes the settings, long press invokes the voice search software. This allows me to search the currently displayed text for specific word.
  • Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot app available. This converts the phone to a modem for a computer having wireless access. 3G network is used on the phone to browse the internet from the computer.
  • Android News and Weather app and widget available, along with the existing HTC news widget. I still prefer using Buzzbox app and widget for my feeds.
  • Apart from the existing Gallery app, a new Video Gallery app is available to display the Video titles on the device.
  • I don't have to enter the screen lock pattern if I activate the screen immediately after locking it. It is requested only after the phone screen is inactive for a specific time as set in the setup.
  • SMS app is more customized now. Shows word count as you type. There is an attachment option that allows attachment of audio, video, address book entry, calendar agenda or simply a file on the device.
  • Default gmail client, shows left and write arrows to shift between emails from the view screen. I don't recollect this option being there before the update.
  • New GPS navigation app showing up in menu.
  • Released good amount of free memory space. I had about 30MB left, after update 55MB is available.
  • Software installation can now be performanced on SD Card, this will remove the internal memory size limitation. The setup -> applications -> manage application view now displays 4 tabs and includes one for software installed on SD card.  

    From the manage application view, a particular app can be selected and moved to SD card. However not all app support this option at this time.

    Copying apps to SD card not only freed my internal memory but also occupied lesser size on SD card, this was surprising. For instance one app had installed space (no cache) showing as 15 MB, moving this reduced the size to about 2 MB!

    Setup -> applications -> running services has a new look providing more info on services and memory utilization.
  • Overall device performance has improved as compared to before update.
  • Apps listing shows Adobe Flash player 10.1 app also.
  • The market download tab shows an "update all" button. Clicking on this auto starts downloads of all available updates for installed apps, without prompting for more details.

    A new flag "Allow automatic updating" is available against each downloaded app in the market. Enabling this will keep the app auto updated.
  • New 2x2 market widget to quickly launch the app. This looked quite static to me, just more of a shortcut.

    The market app now shows two separate tabs as "About" and "Comment" for displaying details of an app.
* HTC Desire is available now in different retail outlets since last month, this was after I did the update.